If there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s fakeness. Hate me, ignore me, laugh at me, whatever—as long as you’re being honest and you mean it. Just don’t, please, if you have any heart, don’t put on for me. Don’t tell me you like A when you hate A. Don’t tell me you do B when you don’t. Just, for heaven’s sake, be real. That’s it, that’s all I ask.
Thing is, being authentic, always acting sincerely, is harder than it sounds. Take work: Do I always, always want to go to work in the morning? No, of course not, sometimes my bed feels positively warm and wonderful and all I want is to stay in it a bit longer. I’ll still go to work, though. And when I do, go to work, that is, I can’t very well announce to every person I see that, Just so you know, I’m pretty tired and cranky this morning, so I don’t want to be here. No, I can’t very well do that at all.
So here I am, hypocrite and hypocrite-hater, wishing for—in other people—the very thing I am want to lack, wishing for people to be real, in some sense of the word, without being real, as in open and honest about everything.
You may not think it at first, but this is kind of what I’m starting to like about rosemary or, really, food in general. It’s honest and dishonest. It’s exactly what you think and then, not what you think at all. All my life, for example, rosemary’s been one thing—a woody, fragrant herb that works nicely in focaccia or marinades or with potatoes. Certainly not with fish, No, thank you. Certainly not with cakes or pie. And, honestly, I’m sure I would have told you: Certainly not in cookies.
Rosemary is a funny herb. With its pointy needles, extending from stems and deepening from green to purple in color, its branches look a little like tiny Christmas trees. And the smell—it’s so powerful, so knock-you-over strong, that it’s positively arresting.
In many ways, rosemary’s also something of a surprise, because it’s full of uses that are unordinary. I just caught a recipe for buttermilk and rosemary ice cream, for example; appetizing? Before you say no, ask yourself, Could it be interesting? Could it be different? Could it be delicious?
Without trying it, you just won’t know. And that, essentially, is why you need to try this recipe. Rosemary cookies. Of all the things. Who would’ve thought to put a strong herb into a sable-style cookie? (Well, Martha Stewart, who else?)
These cookies are fantastic. No, better than that, outstanding! No, near perfection!
What they do especially well, beyond the sheer pleasure of their texture and perfect crunch as you bite in, is a subtle combination of both sweet and salty flavor. The recipe’s coarse salt works with the rosemary to make these sweet, sugary cookies savory. And oh, are they ever! Try them. It’s enough to make a food adventurer out of all of us.
Rosemary Butter Cookies
Slighted adapted from Martha Stewart’s Cookies
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg plus 1 egg white, beaten
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon coarse salt (I used kosher)
1/2 cup fine sanding sugar (I just used granulated)
1. Put butter and granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; beat on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Mix in whole egg and vanilla. Reduce speed to low. Add flour, rosemary and salt, and mix until combined.
2. Halve dough; shape each half into a log. Place each log on a 12 X 16 sheet of parchment. Roll in the parchment to 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Freeze until firm, about an hour or overnight works fine.
3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Brush each log with beaten egg white; roll in sugar. Cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds. Space each cookie about an each apart on baking sheets lined with parchment (or a Silpat! I love mine!). Bake until edges are golden, 18 to 20 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire racks. Cookies may be stored in airtight containers at room temperature for up to three days.
Note: I do eat other things besides cookies, I assure you, not that you could tell from my blogging this week. Mom, if you’re reading, I’m OK! It’s just that I really, really love cookies and find it easy to write about them. I didn’t think you’d mind. One bite of these beauties, and you’ll be a cookie convert, too.